10 Things Every Rider Should Know About Motorcycle Crashes
- 1. 1. Seek and Continue Medical Treatment
- 2. 2. Gather Evidence from Your Accident Scene
- 3. 3. File a Police Report Right Away
- 4. 4. Exchange Insurance Information and Call the Insurance Company
- 5. 5. Cooperate with Your Insurance Company
- 6. 6. Don’t Admit Fault or Apologize
- 7. 7. Compile All Medical Bills and Costs Related to Your Accident
- 8. 8. Do Not Attempt to Move Your Motorcycle
- 9. 9. Purchase Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance
- 10. 10. Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer After a Motorcycle Crash
- 11. Crosley Law: Skilled and Aggressive Advocates for Motorcycle Crash Victims in Texas
A motorcycle crash can happen in the blink of an eye yet change your life forever. This is something a growing number of riders are finding. Here in Texas, the number of registered motorcycles had doubled between 2000 and 2014. And Bexar County has one of the highest numbers of riders in the state.
At Crosley Law, we are painfully aware of the risks motorcycle riders face when you hit the road. While you can’t control other drivers’ behavior, the tips in this article—which are especially important if you are a new or inexperienced rider—can help increase your chances of a successful personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident.
If the unthinkable happens and you find yourself injured in a motorcycle crash, contact Crosley Law to schedule a free initial consultation so you can learn about your rights and legal options.
Related: Why Drivers Lack Motorcycle Awareness
1. Seek and Continue Medical Treatment
Your top priority after a crash needs to be your own safety. The first step motorcyclists should take is to seek care from a medical professional who can properly diagnose any serious injuries and provide care.
Ensuring that your injuries are accurately documented and cared for is essential in showing the impact of the accident on your overall wellbeing. However, getting medical attention is not where this part of your journey ends.
To prove to your insurance company that your injuries are serious, you must continue receiving treatment. Continued treatment shows that your injuries impact your everyday pain and suffering, which could lead to higher compensation and coverage of related medical bills in the future. If you stop treatment, your insurance company may protest that your injuries were not as serious as you stated and deny your claim.
2. Gather Evidence from Your Accident Scene
Gathering evidence is one of the most important steps after a motorcycle accident. Once it is safe to do so, take as many pictures and videos of the accident scene, from as many angles as possible. The more evidence you have of your accident, the stronger your claim. However, there are other forms of evidence you may not consider that are equally as important as photos or videos.
If there are any witnesses, be sure to ask if you can get a statement from them about their perspective on the crash. The police will likely do this as well but getting a second copy for your insurance company or personal injury attorney will be of potential value as well. Also be sure to keep any documents that may be useful to show the extent of your damages, such as medical records of your injury diagnosis, medical bills, and other costs related to your accident.
3. File a Police Report Right Away
Once you are safe, it is important to call the police as soon as possible, if they are not already at the scene. Filing a police report will give you the opportunity to have your side of the story documented for use later.
Having a concrete record of your side of the accident is key to the success of your claim and the defense of your legal rights. An accurate police report is one of the strongest pieces of evidence you can provide for an insurance claim, as well as in a personal injury lawsuit, which makes providing your testimony, while your memory is fresh, extremely important.
Police officers will also be able to control the situation, move vehicles as necessary, and direct traffic around your incident so you don’t have to. They can take care of many of the logistics so you can focus on getting somewhere safe to receive medical treatment.
4. Exchange Insurance Information and Call the Insurance Company
Be sure to exchange insurance information and contact information as soon as is safely possible with the other driver after your accident.
If the other driver tries to convince you not to exchange information, they are likely either underinsured or have no insurance at all. When this is the case, it is important to still exchange information. As we will cover later, if you have the right insurance policy you likely have uninsured motorist coverage that will protect you.
The other risk by not exchanging insurance information is that, even if the other party offers to pay for your property damage, you may find out that your injuries are more severe than you thought. The cost of medical treatment may end up coming out of your own pocket and cost you thousands if not covered by an insurance company.
5. Cooperate with Your Insurance Company
Many motorcycle accident victims are hesitant to cooperate with the insurance company after a crash. It is understandable to be skeptical of the insurance company, as they often look for reasons not to pay you for your injuries. But providing detailed evidence and an honest account of your story will increase your claim’s chance of success.
Now, be sure to only provide the information they need and avoid including opinions or emotions in your answers, as this could end up negatively impacting your claim.
By contacting your insurance company early, you are also seen as less likely to be responsible for the accident. Riders who avoid contacting the insurance company are more frequently seen as guilty in the eyes of an insurance adjuster, which increases the chances of their claims being denied.
6. Don’t Admit Fault or Apologize
In the moments after motorcycle accidents, victims often feel partially responsible for the damage that occurred. It is important to remember not to apologize or take any of the blame for the accident.
Once you have apologized to the other party or parties involved, they can use that to place the blame on you. This can potentially keep you from getting fair compensation for your injuries and also give the other driver the opportunity to label you as the at-fault driver.
Once the other driver has you on record apologizing or admitting some degree of fault, then you will likely be held responsible for their injuries, instead of the other way around. Insurance adjusters will use this information to deny you a chance to recover compensation by pointing the blame towards you.
7. Compile All Medical Bills and Costs Related to Your Accident
Be sure to keep track of any costs related to your accident very closely. This includes medical expenses, property damage costs, or lost wages.
Keeping a close record of these costs will be important for your claim, as they will be added to the total amount you’re owed in your settlement. Having documented costs can be especially helpful if you hire a lawyer following your motorcycle accident. Providing these documents to your attorney can help them determine how much compensation the insurance companies owe you for your serious injury.
8. Do Not Attempt to Move Your Motorcycle
After your crash, you may feel as though you have a duty to move your motorcycle out of traffic. However, it is important to leave your motor vehicle how it is until help arrives for a couple reasons.
The first is the importance of preserving the scene for your police report and insurance claim. Even if you have taken photos and video of the scene of the accident, it is still valuable for the police to have a clear view of your crash.
The other main reason to avoid attempting to move your motorcycle is the risk of causing further injury. Your body may be in shock after your accident occurs, which can prevent you from realizing the full extent of your serious injuries. Moving a heavy object like your motorcycle can result in further damage and more severe injuries that your insurance company may not cover (because they weren’t caused by the actual accident).
9. Purchase Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance
Texas requires a minimum level of motorcycle insurance for all riders. However, when you buy the minimum required coverage, the policy limits won’t cover much in the event of a catastrophic accident. Those minimum policy limits are:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injury claims
- $60,000 total in bodily injury claims per accident
- $25,000 for personal property damage per accident
In the event of a motorcycle wreck, it’s very likely that the medical bills and other costs will add up to much more than these policy limits. When you purchase motorcycle insurance, consider additional coverage, including supplementary personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist policies.
If your negligence caused the motorcycle crash, your liability policy won’t cover your injuries. However, PIP policies aren’t fault-based and should pay your claim regardless of fault.
Meanwhile, a UM/UIM policy steps in when an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to cover your injuries or has no insurance coverage at all. Since an alarmingly high number of San Antonio drivers are uninsured or have minimal policies, Crosley Law encourages all drivers, including motorcycle riders, to buy additional UM/UIM coverage in case the worst happens.
Related: Head-On Motorcycle Crash Results in a Complex Injury Claim: Donna’s Story
10. Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer After a Motorcycle Crash
It’s not fair, but our culture perpetuates a subtle bias against motorcycle riders. Many people assume that those who choose to ride are thrill seekers who ignore traffic rules and drive aggressively. Unfortunately, this can negatively impact your injury claims after a motorcycle crash.
Texas is a comparative negligence state, which means that your degree of fault in causing a wreck will proportionately affect the total amount of compensation you can receive. For example, suppose you have $100,000 in crash-related medical bills, lost income, and other damages. If you were 20% at fault for the crash, the insurance companies will pay a maximum of $80,000 in your claim. And if you were 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover compensation.
After a crash, it’s always in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer. If the police report in your motorcycle accident case unfairly blames you for a crash or the insurance company tries to reduce your damages, you’ll need compelling evidence that proves them wrong.
At Crosley Law, our law firm has built a reputation for conducting detailed investigations that use cutting-edge technology and expert witnesses to identify the causes of a crash. Contact us to learn more about our approach to motorcycle accident claims.
RELATED: Two Motorcycle Crashes Complicate an Injury Claim: Andy B’s Story
Crosley Law: Skilled and Aggressive Advocates for Motorcycle Crash Victims in Texas
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, you deserve guidance and advocacy from an experienced and respected injury lawyer. At Crosley Law, we focus on handling serious injury claims, especially those involving motor vehicle accidents. We pride ourselves on our dedication and commitment to the attorney-client relationship and work hard for each of our clients equally.
To schedule your free consultation today, complete our online contact form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
Shipp, E.M., Wunderlich, R., Perez, M., Ko, M., Pant, A., Martin, M., . . . Trueblood, A. (2016, September). Comprehensive analysis of motorcycle crashes in Texas: A multi-year snapshot (Report no. 2016-TTI-G-1YG-0029). College Station, TX: Center for Transportation Safety, Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Retrieved from https://www.looklearnlive.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/MOTO_ReportRev1a.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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